I don’t think I’m going to win NaNoWriMo this year. I’m not really “in it to win it.” I’m in it to write a novel, not just 50,000 words, but as many words as it takes. The 30-day time frame has lost meaning for me. In the stats tracker of the NaNoWriMo website, they tell me that at my current rate I will finish on December 30. That doesn’t bother me much. I think to myself, “Hey, that’s pretty good. I’d be thrilled to have written a novel by the end of the year!”
I’m falling a little further behind every day. I’m at my creative best when I spend a lot of time researching and reading and thinking, then fuse all of that into something new. That’s how I work. I also tend to do my best thinking in writing form (blog posts, journal entries, lists, writing exercises, etc.). These things take away time from the actual novel writing. Plus I’ve got two children, a mid-November work deadline, and the impending holidays to manage. The odds are against hitting the 50K mark by the end of November.
But NaNoWriMo will be gone at the end of the month, along with all of its benefits: permission to write poorly, pressure to keep writing, a supportive community, a handy stat-tracking website, and friendly competition. Without those, I’m not sure I can stick with my novel until it’s done. Or, to put it another way, NaNoWriMo is serving a purpose, and I don’t know what to replace it with come December.
So I haven’t conceded yet. Instead I’m trying to embrace the best parts of the NaNoWriMo philosophy without allowing myself to be caged by them. I’m going to continue working on my novel in my own way, even if that means fewer words per day. It is my hope that there will be days when the research/reading/thinking pays off by illuminating large sections of the story. On those days I will write for all I’m worth. Maybe I’ll even catch up. But if I don’t, I’m not going to feel bad about it, but rather devote myself to finding another form of motivation.